Wednesday, 22 April 2009
10:00 Thanks for watching and I'll now put a blank space in for the benefit of those who haven't seen the episode yet.
In about eight more lines, you might see who got fired this week. If you don't want to, look away now!
9:59 Nothing interesting in the ending except the preview of next week's task. They have to sell ten items for the highest price possible. That should have a bit more to it.
9:56 Kimberly is fired for being like the Wizard of Oz - looks impressive but nothing behind the curtain. Ironic in a task about advertising!
9:54 "Why shouldn't I fire you?" Kimberly gives a reasonable answer, Lorraine gives the usual cliches. But she doesn't seem to be sufficiently responsible to get fired.
9:51 Philip's bravado "soars like an eagle" and "attracts a hunter". Alan's "12-bore shotgun" is pointed at him. Are the writers tired of "You're Fired" as a catchphrase?
9:50 There's an economic theory that a team as a whole will always have better quality knowledge than any individual member. The three remaining candidates are busy trying to disprove it.
9:48 Kimberly has to bring back Lorraine and Philip, and does. Nooral, Mona and the other guy get away with it.
9:46 How authority is exerted within an organisation is an economic problem which isn't well-understood. But what seems clear is that Kimberly's authority was not exerted successfully.
9:44 As always, a bit of game theory - Lorraine made sure to put her marker down in advance, in case of a loss. Not forgetting that if the team happened to win, the problem wouldn't arise.
9:42 And the pants team are utterly wiped out. I thought it was closer than that.
9:40 Bad time planning from Kimberly - as always, resources are a critical counterpart to sales ability.
9:38 The ad agency thought that the execution of the pants advert was very good. An omen of a twist in the end of this episode?
9:37 "Brave" choice by Kimberly according to Alan. I think we agree.
9:34 Kimberly's team seems to have better highlights but some worrying low points. High-risk but the feedback is more interesting at least.
9:32 The teams show their ads, and: a critical problem for Kate's team. Their brand has no definition: it is trying to hit too many benefits at the same time. But everything seems competent.
9:28 Project manager is a tough gig on this show. To successfully lead a team you need respect from the people who work for you, and Kimberly doesn't have it. Then again, she isn't going out of her way to earn it. Respect for your team in return is a good way to start.
9:25 Kimberly's ad has its own disaster waiting to happen: Philip proves me wrong by trying to sing the song himself and "may think he's Bono" according to the agency. Their TV ad is a bizarre conceit, and Nooral is desperate to assistant direct - even though he's acting in it. They're not that short of staff yet.
9:23 Actually it turns out to be Kate's team who get the sting - their child actor has a nut allergy and can't eat the cereal! Margaret thinks the ad is too complicated.
9:22 Two scenes of Treasure Flakes in a row...something big and dreadful is being set up for Kimberly's team.
9:21 It's quite funny to see candidates doing jobs they are completely unqualified for - they obviously didn't pretend they could sing the tune, but they are happy to assume they can direct the singer.
9:19 The Wake-up Call box doesn't look as bad as it could have. But they've managed to get Kimberly to complain about it for the cameras - clever!
9:18 Nick's got this episode's devastating criticism in - Kimberly's team has left the packaging design up to their designer without even looking at it. Clearly dangerous: we saw this a couple of times in previous series.
9:17 Signalling from the production team: Kate's team's parrot - cereal called "Treasure Flakes" - appears to be going a bit too well. Something has to go wrong for them before the end.
9:15 Kimberly's (actually it's all Phil's now) cereal is going to be called "Wake-up Call" which doesn't sound like any cereal I've ever seen.
9:13 Live blog also going on at the Guardian, but updates seem slow and I'm not sure if their comments box is working.
9:12 While the other team have a pirate parrot - Captain Squawk - which is a lot more family-friendly but quite bland so far.
9:11 Philip has gone in a strop and got his 'pants' idea adopted. It does have some personality but is it Alan's personality?
9:07 One of the drawbacks of this episode is there is no objective measurement of success. It's purely Alan Sugar's opinion (informed by whatever ad agency is getting the free publicity by appearing in this episode). This will (or should) influence the teams' campaign design. There's a name for a market of one - monopsony. It is no better for the economy than the traditional problem of monopoly.
9:05 Alan says that the outside of the Imax has one of the biggest advertising hoardings in the country. I live three minutes from there and I don't remember any ads for made-up cereal brands.
9:04 After the obligatory three minutes of boilerplate and recap, the candidates are off to the Imax cinema to design an ad campaign for a cereal.
9:00 Welcome back! Every Wednesday I write a live commentary on BBC1's The Apprentice. Last week was great fun but will this episode measure up?